The overall goal of the Center for HMS is the modeling and animation of human movement. That central topic drives a number of related research interests covering a broad scope from motion synthesis to natural language interfaces.


Dawn and Welton Becket DMD Achievement Award (2009): Ariela Nurko

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In May 2008, Norm Badler lectured at DGPis40: Scientific Workshop & 40th Anniversary Reunion, at the University of Toronto. Click here for the video.

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3D model of Ben Franklin

Goals of HMS

The Center for Human Modeling and Simulation exists to investigate computer graphics modeling and animation techniques for embodied agents, virtual humans, and their applications. Major foci involve developing behavior-based animation of human movement especially for gesture, gait, and facial expression, constructing a parameterized action representation for real-time simulation and animation, and understanding the relationship between human movement, natural language, and communication.


In January 1994, the former Computer Graphics Research Laboratory of the Computer and Information Science Department became the Center for Human Modeling and Simulation (HMS). Research on human body modeling and simulation had been underway in the laboratory since 1975. The lab achieved international recognition for its research, specifically for the Jack software.

The Center provides a collegial and open atmosphere in which faculty, staff, and students cooperate and coordinate project work. Nearly a dozen Ph.D. students engage in collaborative research efforts with Masters and Undergraduate students.

Education Links to HMS

Part of Computer Graphics at the University of Pennsylvania, the HMS Center has an affiliated Master of Science in Engineering in Computer Graphics and Game Technology program and an affiliated undergraduate degree program, called Digital Media Design. The relationship between HMS and DMD provides exceptional opportunities for undergraduate research.

HMS also runs a summer program for high school students. Students create their own 3-D character from scratch and work on an animation-short involving their character. CG@Penn also works with the Microsoft School of the Future through a one-credit course. Penn students learn multimedia tools and technology by creating tutorials and then teach them at the high school.